HMS Cornwall Incident: A Cause for Concern

is an uncertain ally better than no ally at all?

By streiff Posted in Comments (42) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

location of the punking of the HMS Cornwall by the IRGC

Last year British Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster proffered a stinging critique of the US military in the journal Military Review.

There can be few acts more galling than a soldier from one country publicly assessing the performance of those from another. […]. Ultimately, the intent is to be helpful to an institution I greatly respect.

The capture of Marines and sailors from a boarding party of the HMS Cornwall presents an opportunity to return the favor and look at how an institution I greatly respect, the Royal Navy, has handled itself in this crisis.

Read on.

Though the Royal Navy is hardly a shadow of its former self. It currently has about 64 vessels and it is scheduled to get much smaller.

Royal Navy commanders were in uproar yesterday after it was revealed that almost half of the Fleet's 44 warships are to be mothballed as part of a Ministry of Defence cost-cutting measure.

A senior officer, currently serving with the Fleet in Portsmouth, said: "What this means is that we are now no better than a coastal defence force or a fleet of dug-out canoes. The Dutch now have a better navy than us."

Not only will it rank behind Belgium in size it is poorly maintained and undermanned.

The Government has admitted that 13 unnamed warships are in a state of reduced readiness, putting them around 18 months away from active service.

[…]

More details are emerging of the near-squalor that soldiers are forced to tolerate in barracks when they return from six months of dangerous overseas operations.

Questions have also been raised about the poor pay for troops and equipment failures which continue to dog operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But as they say it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

The incident with the HMS Cornwall calls into question whether there is very much fight left in the dog that is the Royal Navy and it points to the danger imposed upon US forces when working in concert with allied navies who will not act to defend themselves.


According the most comprehensive report to date this was a routine activity. A boarding party was dispatched from the HMS Cornwall when a dhow was observed acting suspiciously.

A boarding party of eight sailors and seven marines left the frigate HMS Cornwall in fast rigid inflatable boats - Ribs, as the navy calls them. The vessel they raced towards had been spotted unloading cars into two barges secured alongside.
As the search took place, four naval personnel were left to look after their boats and monitor the data link which kept it in contact with the frigate.

The remaining 11 boarded the merchant vessel at 7.39 local time. They carried SA80 rifles or pistols, and the Cornwall's Lynx helicopter hovered overhead.

Vice Admiral Charles Style, deputy chief of the defence staff, described the operation as "entirely routine business", conducted in an area where four other boardings had recently been completed without fuss. The boarding party finished inspecting the vessel, which was cleared to carry on its business, at 9.10am.

Then the situation began to unravel.

The 11 sailors and marines were leaving the vessel when "very heavily armed Iranian vessels" arrived. Adm Style said the Iranian crew initially appeared friendly.

However, with their two boats equipped with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns a few feet away, the Iranians suddenly became aggressive. Four other Iranian craft quickly came on the scene. "They came out to swarm around our boats and shepherded them in," said a senior naval officer. He added: "The navy personnel were put in an almost impossible position."

The Iranian ambush, carried out with six boats capable of 40 knots, took place in three minutes.

While the article strives manfully to give the impression of inevitability a closer looks calls part of the story into question.

The interception took place in broad daylight on seas calm enough to allow the boarding party to travel some four miles in rigid inflatable boats. Visibility was good enough that the HMS Cornwall was able to visually observe the dhow off loading automobiles.

The HMS Cornwall is no lightweight. She is a Type 22, Mod 3 frigate armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles and the 4.5” Mark 8 naval gun.

For the Iranian ships to have approached the dhow in three minutes they would have been less than 2.4 statute miles away when they began their movement assuming they were traveling at 40 knots. One would think that this type of behavior would have caused some consternation. There is no report of this being the case so we should assume the Iranian were much closer, probably half that distance. Regardless they would have been visible from the Cornwall visually and by radar from the time the dhow was intercepted and they would have been visible as they exited Iranian territorial waters, crossed into Iraqi territorial waters, and approached the intercepted ship.

This calls into question as to why the boarding party didn’t abandon the dhow when the Iranians began their move or why the HMS Cornwall didn’t take some kind of action to warn off the Iranians or warn the boarding party (more on this a bit later).

Complacency and nonchalance are plausible explanations. If so, this calls into question either the level of command competence on the Cornwall or the mindset of the British Navy in the Gulf.

HMS Cornwall could not come to their aid since the boarding took place in very shallow water. The frigate was more than four miles away at the time of the ambush, according to naval sources.

The HMS Cornwall only draws 24 feet of water and the average depth of the Gulf is 50 meters. True we don’t know the actual depth the Cornwall was operating in but the scale on available maps indicates the boarding took place about 6 miles off shore. It might be less that 24 feet deep but I would have to see the navigation charts.

Apparently, nothing was deemed amiss aboard the Cornwall as several Iranian surface combatants came alongside the Indian flagged dhow.

Communications between the naval boarding party and the Cornwall were lost at 9.10. The Lynx helicopter, which had left the scene, returned to locate the boarding team. The helicopter crew reported that the boarding party and their boats were being "escorted by Iranian Islamic Republican Guard Navy vessels towards the Shatt al-Arab waterway and were now inside Iranian territorial waters."

According to reports the Cornwall contacted the Defence Ministry for guidance (can’t find a link) and was told to stand down.

This brings us to what they could have done. Fighting comes to mind. Why didn’t they. British sailors and marines aren’t exactly world famous for running from a fight. The answer seems to be that they weren’t allowed to fight.

British military sources insisted yesterday that commanders engaged in patrolling the northern Gulf were "entirely satisfied" with their rules of engagement. "They had all the freedom they needed, all rights to engage in self-defence," said one senior military officer. The naval personnel had acted "in a professional way".

Former First Sea Lord Admiral Alan West said in an interview:

The rules are very much de-escalatory, because we don't want wars starting. The reason we are there is to be a force for good, to make the whole area safe, to look after the Iraqi big oil platforms and also to stop smuggling and terrorism there.

So we try to downplay things. Rather then roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were effectively able to be captured and taken away.

If we find this is going to be a standard practice we need to think very carefully about what rules of engagement we want and how we operate. One can't allow as a standard practice nations to capture a nation's servicemen. That is clearly wrong.

What is clearly wrong and needs careful thinking is sending young men into harms way and forbidding them to defend themselves.

West goes on to say:

But all they had were small arms, they don't have heavy weapons. So of course to actually start fighting patrol boats would not be a clever thing.

Well, is that completely true?

The Iranian vessels were light coastal patrol craft:

The two Iranian patrol ships that seized the Britons were equipped with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, enough for a small sea battle. By contrast, the Britons go lightly armed on vessels they search in the Gulf. Each man is issued with a rifle or a pistol.

True enough. But from covered positions aboard the ship they had boarded they could have held off the Iranians until the guns, missiles, and helicopter from the Cornwall were in action. One can see a scenario where a curt refusal and a call for help would have ended the situation without bloodshed, or at least without a massacre. For instance, last year the Iranian military attempted to kidnap US soldiers on the Iranian border. It resulted in a brief firefight not an international crisis.

The difference in attitudes and battle focus is commented on:

A senior American commander in the Gulf has said his men would have fired on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rather than let themselves be taken hostage.
In a dramatic illustration of the different postures adopted by British and US forces working together in Iraq, Lt-Cdr Erik Horner - who has been working alongside the task force to which the 15 captured Britons belonged - said he was "surprised" the British marines and sailors had not been more aggressive.
Asked by The Independent whether the men under his command would have fired on the Iranians, he said: "Agreed. Yes. I don't want to second-guess the British after the fact but our rules of engagement allow a little more latitude. Our boarding team's training is a little bit more towards self-preservation."
The executive officer - second-in-command on USS Underwood, the frigate working in the British-controlled task force with HMS Cornwall - said: " The unique US Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self-defence but also an obligation to self-defence. They [the British] had every right in my mind and every justification to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?'"

Even anti-war activist and author Gwynn Dyer damns this policy with a degree of praise:

It's a cultural thing, at bottom. Britain has a long history of fighting wars and taking casualties, but the combat doctrines are less hairy-chested. British rules of engagement "are very much de-escalatory, because we don't want wars starting," explained Admiral Sir Alan West, former First Sea Lord. "Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back, and that, of course, is why our chaps were ... able to be captured and taken away."

That emollient British approach is probably why the Iranian Revolutionary Guard chose to grab British troops rather than Americans. It was obviously a snatch operation: the Iranians would not normally have half a dozen attack boats ready to go even if some "coalition" boat checking Iraq-bound ships for contraband did stray across the invisible dividing line into Iranian waters (which the British insist they didn't).

[…] Kidnapping American troops as hostages for an exchange could cause a war, so they decided to grab some Brits instead. And it will probably work, after a certain delay.

In this episode, the American reputation for belligerence served U.S. troops well, diverting Iranian attention to the British instead. In the larger scheme of things, it is a bit more problematic.

But the larger issue is the danger posed to American forces operating alongside a British Navy which has markedly different set of rules of engagement. Could the USS Underwood rely upon its partner, the HMS Cornwall, to help rescue a US boarding party that was under fire? We don’t know what the Blair government would allow but the initial signs aren’t good.
Under the Defence Ministry’s plan to move Britain to parity with Luxembourg as a naval power this would have been one of the HMS Cornwall’s last deployments:

The six warships to be mothballed are the Type 22 frigates Cumberland, Chatham, Cornwall and Campbeltown and two Type 42 destroyers Southampton and Exeter.

Maybe, if nothing else, the disgrace suffered by the Cornwall will give the British people the courage to demand a navy as courageous as the sailors who serve in it. If not, then the Cornwall’s fate will be an apt metaphor for the Royal Navy.

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Thanks for the extended background. It is disconcerting and alarming that the Brits would not or are not able to defend themselves.

---
Say if ever thou didst find a woman with a constant mind

A photo taken from the British helicopter, showing both the cargo vessel below and a handheld GPS device with location 1.7 nautical miles inside of Iraqi waters:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-fg-sailors28mar28-p...

but this story assumes the British version of events is true.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

...unless there's been some Photoshopping of the image, we don't have to wonder. You can read the coordinates for yourself. Case closed.

is that the picture proves at one point there was a helicopter with a GPS device and a merchant vessel at the coordinates shown, but there is no photographic proof of the actual incident with those coordinates.

what I'm saying is that even if it happened in Iranian waters that it is still inexcusable

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

If I have a warship and you're attacking with a patrol boat, you lose; God can sort out who's waters the wreckage and your body were in.

In Vino Veritas

that "blow that ish up NOW yee haww" has some aesthetic appeal...

I actually think this is unfolding pretty well for us. Iran gets to be the bad guy in headlines all over the world every single day until they release these sailors. Showing weakness and effectively admitting that they were wrong to kidnap them. Assuming the sailors aren't mistreated, which I doubt they will be (aside from being forced to wear the scarf, yech), it's a propaganda win for us and a loss for Iran.

Iran doesn't care about being the bad guy in the headlines. In fact, they rely on it. For the past couple of years they have had the Gulf States quaking in their boots and this has simply proven that they can take on the Brits and win. So it is a propaganda win of the first order for Iran and every day it drags on it is bigger.

They were the bad guys in headlines for 444 days under the regime of Jimmy Carter. That incident established them as a regional power.

They haven't shown weakness or admitted they were wrong. To the contrary, the way the Brits will get these guys back is the same way the got the 8 sailors back in 2004, they'll admit that there could have been an error.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

this works wonders for us with Europe, Russia and China who are the people we're trying to sell WRT Iran. You're right that they'll probably give the sailors back while not admitting any error, yadda yadda yadda, but everyone will know what happened, and nobody will think they "beat" the British Navy. And the gulf states probably aren't too too worried after our show of strength on Tuesday.

You think China and Russia care? Hardly. Between Chechnya and Tianamen they've learned that being a bad guy has its advantages. China needs Iranian oil. Russia needs Iranian petro dollars. This doesn't mean anything to people who are bad actors in their own right and not our friends to boot.

Again, everyone in the Persian Gulf will know, just as we know, that the Brits folded like a cheap suit.

WRT our show of force, yesterday the Gulf States proclaimed they would not allow their territory or air space to be used for a strike on Iran. So much for that.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

Does anyone think that the Iranians would've pulled this with an American patrol?

We're not going to bomb Iran anytime soon anyways - feel free to amend unforeseen to "foreseen" if you're certain that Iran will give us smoking gun causus belli.

At the least, it's shoring up support in Europe and making it harder for Russia and China to publicly oppose sanctions. I also think you're exaggerating a bit, sure, Russia and China aren't our "friends" but both of them have a very strong interest in stability there. Well, China at least. I think if Chinese leaders are convinced that Iran is enough of a liability, they'll ditch them. Iran tweaking our nose == ok, Iran provoking a real war == very not ok. That's my read of the Chinese interests at least.

Anyways, you notice how quiet Ahmadenijad has been during all this? I'm thinking this ill-informed decision on his part just accelerated his downward trajectory.

Yes, they do have an interest in stability and that is represented by Ahmadenijad, not by us. Their interests are in ensuring that regime survives and their interests are in bleeding us. I don't see how anyone who was not in a coma in the run up to the war in 2003 can say what you say. The situation was the same and Russia and China did their level best to protect Saddam.

Sure Ahmadenijad has been quiet, if you don't speak Farsi or Arabic. Otherwise, not so much.

Look we're done here, I'm not wasting my time discussing this with someone who is quite willing to ignore thirty years of history.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

I don't think Ahmadenijad represents stability to anyone, what with his record over the past year and a half. He started one war in Lebanon, came close in Iraq (funny nobody complained about those "diplomats" we nabbed, wonder what kind of dirt we had) and he's acting like he wants another directly with the British. He got schooled in the municipal elections last fall and Khomeini himself rebuked him publicly in his newspaper. He's not gonna come out of this looking great.

If he keeps this up, he's doing us favors at this point as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully he'll continue the discredit the "fight the great satan" school of thought by wasting their money on pointless conflicts.

And while France did their level best to keep us out of Iraq, I don't really think Russia or China put up more than token resistance. You never hear them complaining after the fact, they're pragmatists unlike the self-righteous-ists in europe.

There is no value in continuing a discussion with someone who is simply unacquainted with Iran's history since 1979, or for that matter, how Russia and the PRC vote in the UN on these matters. The fact that the UN voted on a sanctions bill this week that contradicts your predictions is evidence enough of the futility.

Tchuss

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

That's a pretty insulting statement about my knowledge where your entire opinion of Iran seems to be a bunch of alarm bells ringing and red lights flashing. You can't play chess that way. And there are more than a couple moves in chess. Iran's completely isolated and Blair and Bush are slow rolling them with this hostage thing right now. We'll wind up either getting them back with significant propaganda damage done to IRan in the meantime (can you believe this, 3 letters from the woman??? From an islamic country... they're really trying to roil things, I'm honestly confused as to what they think they're doing ) OR if Iran keeps playing this this way then we'll be completely justified in military action eventually. And just because you're sold on military action doesn't mean it's time yet - you're in the first 3% to think military action's a good idea, successful efforts will build that coalition a little bit bigger first.

Anyways seems like you've had the blinders on a bit too long, try dropping them once in a while, you might come back to the same view but you'll come back wtih arguments that actually understand your opponents' viewpoints instead of the "you are dumb and not worth talking to" defense. Which is always extremely convincing.

what the sanctions entail? Obviously not.

But why bother to actually read anything. That would require work.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

we got some of what we wanted, not all of it, and will be revisiting it as Iran continues to misbehave? Sounds ok to me.

What's your angle, anyways? Immediate invasion? Or just insulting anyone who prefers a nuanced approach?

You linked to the wrong set of sanctions, that was from 3 months ago, the ones this past weekend marginally tightened them. Proving my point.

We'll be back at this again, continually. I like it.

economist

Money Quote:

Some on the council—South Africa, Qatar and Indonesia—were uneasy at extending sanctions. But Iran's insistence on forging ahead with uranium enrichment left potential allies without options.

The unanimous vote came as a welcome surprise to the European, American, Russian and Chinese diplomats who drafted the new resolution—and an unpleasant one for Iran. It said the new resolution was unlawful and this week it further reduced its limited co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN inspectorate. Iran says it wants to enrich uranium to make fuel for nuclear-power reactors, and claims to be the target of a Western plot to deprive it of its “inalienable rights” to do so. To counter the charge, the Security Council resolution included the details of last year's offer by Europeans and others to help Iran obtain nuclear technology that is less prone to proliferation.

Iran has even managed to alienate Russia, which is building a nuclear reactor for Iran at Bushehr. It has suspended plans to ship uranium fuel for the reactor, ostensibly because of late payments by Iran. But privately Russian officials say Iran has taken their discomfort with sanctions for granted; the Russians don't like being played for fools.

"my angle." Iran is winning the war they are fighting, the sooner we acknowledge that the better off we are. The US right now seems to realize it. Britain doesn't and the UNSC certainly doesn't.

Your approach isn't nuanced, it isn't even reality. It is just silly.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

Well we're winning the war that I say we're fighting and Iran is losing the war that I say that I think they're fighting - what sense does that naked assertion make? Anything to say about my further 2 points in that thread? Besides insulting reading comprehension while posting an article about the wrong set of sanctions?

Is what you're really saying that you're mad that Iran isn't immediately and overwhelmingly hurt for any act of symbolic intransigence? Patience, my friend - we've gotta be cool in the pocket like Tom Brady here and we'll prevail, this is a 5-10 year game at this point.

I thought the great left myth of winning a war by cutting off your opponents trade was done.

If a regime is willing to be brutal enough it can whether sanctions without working up a sweat. Strategic bombing isn't even a winner by itself.

Just putting pressure on Iran hoping they will wise up is refuted by the record. They had an insane war where they lost one million people. They have had several orderly changes of government including one where the "moderates" were purged.

Somehow I just don't think a man who took hostages in the U.S. and is now running the country worries too much about harsh words from the west.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

But I think the sanctions route, given that we have probably 10 years until they have a working nuke, is certainly preferable to war for now.

The more dire the situation the greater the need to use worst case scenarios. Plus our intelligence services seem to have a unique ability to make bad public assessments.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

We've successfully concluded 2 rounds of ever-tightening sanctions with 15-0 votes AND we picked up that high-value general. That's before they made fools of themselves with this idiocy. Pretty good rate of progress, let's keep this up until it gets diminishing returns at the least.

Bush seems to agree with me, if my word isn't enough for you

______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Iraq had no WMDs -- so the sanctions did pretty much work.

The invasion was still a good idea for the real, non-mushroom-cloud-lies reasons though.

Military expert says sanctions can hurt Iran

They're getting all kinds of domestic blowback about the trade sanctions that were already approved a while back too -- unemployment is high there and the only thing keeping the country running is oil and welfare from those revenues. If we can bring down the price of oil through conservation and opening up some Iraqi fields (saw a report yesterday about new surveying in the north and south of the country, we're making some progress there), while keeping the pressure on internationally, they're screwed.

This bonehead move by them makes it much easier for us to keep the pressure on internationally. I'm seriously mystified as to why they seem to want to escalate it by making a spectacle of the only woman in the group -- you have to figure their intentions are to provoke outrage with that move.

are a result of unilateral US action.

You seem to have glossed over what the article actually says in favor of the headline and you seem to have missed the qualifier in the headline.

Again, I know reading is a lot of work but try it. And maybe you'll stop beclowning yourself.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

under clear skies and in calm seas, can often be very dangerous in the maritime world. I supervised the administrative investigation and the dismissal arbitration of the master and first mate, both very experienced deck officers, of Alaska's ferry M/V LeConte, which they grouded on a marked reef on a clear day with no wind and seas like a sheet of glass. Along the way I did a lot of research into other collisions, allisions, and groundings, and an amazing number of them occur in ideal conditions. Almost all of those that occurred in inclement weather were the result of engine or steering failure, not navigational error. Almost universally the cause was inattention and loss of situational awareness. Even though having the conn of a large ship is a difficult and demanding task, if you do it every day, it is "just another day at the office;" nothing's going on that you haven't done thousands of times, everything's working right, no problems and you're on mental autopilot, and then something happens unexpectedly and you either can't react quickly enough or react wrongly. With the LeConte, the Mate, who had the conn, did not properly ascertain his position as he made a course change after meeting a tug and tow; by the time he realized that he was not where he thought he was, the 235 foot ship with nearly 100 SOB was fast on the reef. The last word from the Master, who was on the bridge but did not have the conn, was, "There's a lot of kelp here." I can testify that most of the kelp in SE Alaska waters has rocks in it.

Likewise, everyone knows that navigating a tanker through Prince William Sound is a demanding proposition, but it, too, is a day at the office if you do it all the time. The common belief is that the Exxon Valdez was grounded because of Capt. Hazelwood's drunkeness, but he was not on watch. The grounding was caused by error and inattention by the watchstanders. Hazelwood was, of course, responsible since he was the Master, but his condition had nothing to do with the actual grounding.

I suspect that those Brits were having just another day at the office until something went unexpectedly and horribly wrong, and they couldn't assess the situation and react quickly enough.

That said, and you may be well aware of this Strieff but others reading may not, no one should have any illusions about how difficult it is to identify a small vessel, say under a hundred feet or so, at a distance of four to six miles. Under good conditions, you might visually or with binoculars be able to see that there is a vessel there, but what kind, its course, etc. is no easy thing to determine. Even radar will only tell you that there is something there, not what it is, and only close and continuous observation will tell you what it is doing.

I don't know what kind of equipment the Brits have on their warships, but you give the impression they might be a bit dated and shopworn. Even so, the under a $1000 GPS Chartplotter and DSC marine radio on my boat would tell me what a vessel with which I was sailing was doing, where it was, and show it on my chart. This is stuff you can buy at the nearest West Marine store, so you'd assume a warship would be at least as well equipped. So, if they were paying attention, the Brits should have known that the approaching vessels were not theirs and were approaching at speeds that would indicate that they were not fishing boats or commercial vessels.

So, I get back to my first point; sounds like a day at the office that went horribly wrong.

In Vino Veritas

in the Tanker War. Between optics, IR viewers, and radar we had no trouble engaging this type of patrol craft a long ranges.

True, I don't know the status of their fire control suite but I'd hope it was operational.

Even then, the boarding party was a lot closer than the Cornwall. The explanation for that is even harder.

As to operations, I don't know what they were doing. But they did have a boarding party in action. One would hope there was something approaching a sense of urgency.

"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

is that I'd have to be convinced that the deck officers were "operational," in the sense that they were truly attending to what was going on. And I know it is a hard thing to say.

I do know that if I'm out fishing or just lolling about and I see something small and very fast four or five miles away, even though I can't see it distinctly, I'm pretty sure it is the Coast Guard or the State Troopers and behave accordingly. That, of course, assumes that I'm paying attention and actually see it.

Likewise, if they saw something small and fast, that is enough information to conclude that it wasn't a friend of theirs and behave accordingly. So, I have to conclude that they didn't see it until it was too late to do anything beyond have a firefight with the boarding party, and here ROE may indeed be the key.

In Vino Veritas

For me, especially, since I was serving aboard the USS Elmer Montgomery (FF-1082) then. On the evening of 2 July, we received a distress call from a Danish tanker (Kamara Maersk) that was being harassed by Iranian gunboats. We raced to the area and fired one warning round from the 5 inch deck gun. The Iranians scattered. (A copy of the thank you letter from Maersk lines resides in my service jacket.)

The next morning, we were the object of Iran's aggression. I am proud to have had a hand in delivering two of the Iranian gunboats directly to Davy Jones. IOW, we demonstrated the proper response to Iran's hostile actions.

Were it not for the actions of Captain Rogers (USS Vincennes CG-49) that day, it would have remained a great day for the US Navy.

Retire Lindsey Graham. Support Thomas Ravenel for Senate 2008

here

Retire Lindsey Graham. Support Thomas Ravenel for Senate 2008

- the short term crisis produced by British policy, so well described above.

- the long term crisis produced by British policy, which doesn't bode well for their role as our key ally, so well described above.

The answer: watch mindless TV tonight and not think about it.

As a long time navigator/ship driver of US Naval vessels (including that region), you do start getting a little nervous when you get down to 20 feet and closing below the hull, particulary if your outside a channel and don't trust the charted waters of the host country. They were getting down to leadline territory. Having said that, part of her mission is patrol and she has a max speed of 30 kts. I know it's not fashionable but sometimes "Hairychestedness" is a required trait in the military. The most stunning part of your whole piece to me is the size of the British navy. 44 warships and they're planning to mothball half of these?

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes the greater is their power to harm us - Voltaire

Streiff is the master, we are all students :)

Selectman has no clue about what he was trying to talk about.

United States Air Force
http://airforcepundit.blogspot.com

 
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